Topics: Obamacare

As government shutdown looms, conservatives sound off on who's to blame

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Beltway Confidential,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Senate,House of Representatives,Harry Reid,Ashe Schow,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown

House and Senate conservatives took to television Sunday to shift blame to President Obama and Democrats for threatening a government shutdown.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, led the charge against funding Obamacare while keeping the rest of the federal government operating.

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., "has essentially told the House of Representatives and the American people, 'Go jump in a lake,' " Cruz told NBC's "Meet the Press" host David Gregory.

“Reid said, ‘I’m not willing to compromise, I’m not willing to even talk.’ His position is, 100 percent of Obamacare must be funded in all instances, and other than that, he’s going to shut the government down,” Cruz said.

Gregory said the Senate passed a bill to keep the government operating, but Cruz reminded him that the House has twice voted to keep the government from shutting down, and said that a shutdown would only occur if Reid refuses to compromise.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., told CBS's "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer that “the president’s the one saying ‘I will shut down government if you don’t give me everything I want on Obamacare.’” Paul also accused Obama of being “intransigent and unwilling to compromise.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, sounded a similar message on "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace," saying, “Republicans are doing everything we can to protect America from a shutdown and protect America from the harmful effects of Obamacare.”

On the House side, Republicans lined up to point out that they passed legislation that would keep the government running, delay Obamacare for one year and repeal the medical device tax (which 30 Senate Democrats voted to repeal back in March 2013). The House GOP then shifted blame for a shutdown squarely on Senate Democrats and Obama.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said that, if the Senate again rejects the GOP’s attempt to keep the government funded, “the House will get back together in enough time – send another provision not to shut down the government but to fund it – and it will have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at again.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers told CNN’s "State of the Union" host Candy Crowley that the Senate is “playing games” and “truly threatening a government shutdown by not being here and acting.”

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, said Obama and Democrats want to shut down the government because they know Republicans will be blamed.

“I think everybody agrees that this is a loser for us if the government shuts down,” Labrador said on "Meet the Press." “That’s why I think the president and the Democrats want to shut down the government.”

Labrador may be right about Republicans taking the blame for a shutdown. A recent CBS/New York Times poll found 44 percent of Americans would blame the GOP for a shutdown, compared to 35 percent who would blame Obama and Democrats.

However, the latest Pew Research poll found blame to be more evenly distributed, with 39 percent blaming Republicans and 36 percent blaming Obama and Democrats.

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